Along the way I’ve picked up a few ‘Americanisms’. I don’t mind them at all and most people know what I mean when I use them. The phrase ‘barn chores’ is one of the phrases that I have picked up. What I find curious is that don’t think of the general stuff I do each day at the barn to be a chore at all.
I found 3 different uses of the word chore;
But none of these seem to fit what I do when I do my barn ‘chores’. When I get to the barn I start off by greeting the horses. That greeting starts as soon as I step out of the car and continues as I open the barn door and they greet me at the door. And that is also when training starts.
Training is happening all the time. Every second I spend with the horses they learning about my routine and my reactions to things I see and they do. That first second when I open the barn door is also when my health checks start.
As I prepare feeds and clean the stables the horses are milling about, making sure I am preparing their breakfast ‘just right’ and we are negotiating our way around each other as I get on with things. All of this involves training. The horses have learned that they can stand at the entrance to the feed room as I prepare their feed but not cross the threshold, to step back and let me in to the stable to bring their feed in, to move their back or front end over to allow me to clean the stable around them, to put their head in to the head collar for me (no stretching up for me), stand side by side at the big barn door until I get it fully open before I cue them to come forwards and stand next to me. when we are ready to go to the field I take the lead ropes off their necks and that is their cue to walk with me (until then they stand and wait for me to get things organised to take them out to the field). When we get to the field they stand next to me while I take the head collar off the horse on the right of me and then the horse on the left turns his head around to present the head collar buckle to me. When both head collars are off I click and they get mints as reinforcers.
These ‘lifeskills’ are just day-to-day life for us, and it all started with barn chores.
The Click That Teaches – Approved Coach